Hey! I'm a California gal who moved to London in 2002 to be with my British bloke. Come read about my adventures living in London, being a Stay-At-Home-Mum, coping with a tea and cake addiction and trying to assimilate into British life. Don't know where I belong, but can't imagine living anywhere else.
A very belated Happy New Year to you, my lovely readers. Every year I feel ,astonished at how quickly the new year has come around. And this year is no exception. 2019 started off quite slowly but then the last eight months went by in a flash. And now it’s 2020. Wow!
There were no huge achievements in 2019. It was just another year. I lost my 104-year old grandmother, which was very painful. We all know that death is a part of life, but it still stings when it comes for the people we love. But the year was mostly good (as you can see from my above top nine photos from Instagram).
My family and I love the Christmas shows at The Rose Theatre Kingston. They’re always of a high calibre and very family friendly. And while it’s crucial for the children to enjoy the show, I think that it’s important for the adults to also be entertained. So this Christmas we went to see The Snow Queen with high hopes.
The Snow Queen is based on the highly acclaimed Hans Christian Andersen story that most of all have heard of, but Ciaran McConville has written the story a bit differently. Gerda is stronger and tougher. Even when she’s scared, she faces her fears to find her friend. As a mother to a daughter, I love it when my girl is shown such fierce female leads.
My family and I recently visited Winter Wonderland for the first time. Yes, the actual first time. None of my friends could believe that I had never been. But if you know my family, then you know that my son is quite spirited (which is a kind way of saying feral). And this is the first year that I felt like a busy event in London would be a success for a family day out. And like some magical advert for Winter Wonderland, we had an amazing day.
We arrived around 10.30am on a Sunday, and came up with a plan for the day. A plan helps with young children as then you can manage expectations (for them and you). We decided on seeing Father Christmas, checking out the rides, then the Magical Ice Kingdom before lunch. Then we would wander before going to Zippos Circus at 1pm. After that, we would go on the giant wheel and then look around some more before heading home.
My daughter is a bookworm, to put it mildly. She reads about 15 books a week, and re-reads one or two on top of that. One of her favourite authors is David Walliams. She has read all of his books multiple times. So you can only imagine her excitement when I told her that Billionaire Boy had been made into a musical and we were going to see it on stage.
If you’re not familiar with Billionaire Boy, it is the story of Joe, the richest boy in Britain. His father can buy him anything he desires. But there is only one thing he really wants – a friend. The story, full of humor and even some sad moments, takes us through Joe’s journey of finding a friend and discovering what’s really important in life.
If you follow me on Instagram (or happen to know me in real life), then you will know that my beloved grandmother died in August at the grand old age of 104. Mere had two hobbies – drinking whiskey and crocheting. Since I don’t like the taste of whiskey, I thought I would commemorate her by learning how to crochet.
So a few weeks ago I went on a beginner’s crochet class run by Grace & Cable. I am not one of those people who can just learn something by watching youtube or reading a book. So I wanted to find a class that was held during the day, while the children are at school. And maybe crochet is beginning to be cool, because I found a few classes to choose from.
Every year I drag my family visit Mayfield Lavender in Banstead. We first visited in 2013 and it has become a summer family tradition. But I won’t lie – some years I have had to force my family. Last year we had an unexpected power cut so I bribed them with the promise of brunch at a restaurant if we went to see the lavender beforehand.
There have been some visits where the children constantly complained about the bees. Or they were too hot, or too cold, or too hungry. And then there were the times where Husband grumbled about the embarrassment of taking so many photos (okay, this has actually happened EVERY time).
I can’t believe that this is my 10th Father’s Day without my papa. Growing up, he was my hero and my best friend. We would watch telly together (our favourite was The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) or go to the cinema. We traveled around the world and he took me to my first West End musical. He was the official chauffeur of the household, and spent half of my high school years driving me and my friends around.
While I try to make Father’s Day special for my husband, there is a part of me that cannot shake the sadness. I wish I could see my dad, or call him to wish him a happy day. His love and support helped shape me into the person I am today. More than anyone, he was my guiding force.
During the Easter break, my family and I went on a surprise holiday. And I mean it was a complete surprise. My in-laws booked the holiday through a company called srprs.me, and none of us knew our destination. It wasn’t until we got to the airport that we were able to check the website, and discover that we were going on a mini-break to Poland. I had never considered a visit to Warsaw with kids, but found it to be utterly delightful.
If you are considering a city-break with children, I can heartily recommend Warsaw. And there are many reasons for doing so. First, it is not expensive to get from London to Warsaw. The flight from the UK is only 2 to 2 1/2 hours long. There are plenty of family-friendly attractions to choose from. And while it is a big city, ubers are cheap so it is not tough getting around.
We love exploring new places. And for ages we have talked about going to Cutty Sark. So we were excited to head to Greenwich last weekend for a visit. And although we didn’t technically set sail, we had a great time running around Cutty Sark.
Major spoiler alert – my seven-year old son, Dubz, had the best time. He wasn’t sure whether he was going to like it, but he’s always up for a day out. And he loved exploring Cutty Sark. The ship is a museum, but one that is geared for adults and children. Dubz loved pretending to steer the ship, looking through all the staterooms and using the interactive screen to pretend to sail.
Moozles is at a funny tween stage. She considers herself too old for dolls, but I think she’s too young for a lot of things. She’s barely 11, and I want her to keep hold of her childhood for as long as possible. So when we were offered the chance to review the new styling head from I’M A STYLIST, I jumped at the chance. And we were thrilled when ‘Lucy’ arrived.
First of all, these are not the usual styling heads your child may already have. Moozles actually had one when she was five, and it was abandoned after a week. The hair was gross and it was so small that she struggled to use it. The I’M A STYLIST head is bigger (almost has big as my childrens’ own heads). It comes with face gems which are super easy to apply and remove, even my seven-year old son, Dubz, managed it. There are suction cups at the bottom of the head which keeps it secure and doesn’t slide around when the children are fixing her hair. Dubz was over-excitedly brushing Lucy’s hair, and it’s a miracle that she didn’t end up bald.